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Phalanx is a prescription drug developed in the in-game universe of No More Room in Hell by real-life pharmaceutical giant Pfizer. It was intended to treat those infected with 732-ZH Encephalitis Lethargica. It was a commercial success but a clinical failure. The world collapsed before Pfizer could complete research in to an effective drug treatment, but players can find bottles of Phalanx scattered around in rare places in most maps and can use it to stem off infection in themselves or others for a short time.
Players can pick up found bottles of Phalanx with "E" (default), and they can consume the drug while infected by opening the Radial Inventory and left-clicking on the item. It will be immediately consumed and take effect. It lasts for approximately three minutes before it wears off and infection sets back in from the start.
As there is quite evidently no cure for the 732-ZH Encephalitis Lethargica virus, that doesn't mean that pharmaceutical laboratories and world governments haven't been working vigorously to find a treatment, cure, or a vaccine. The closest thing to a treatment is a prescription drug known as Phalanx, developed by pharmaceutical giant Pfizer.
Over a two year period since the discovery of the virus Pfizer was engaged in an exchange of confidential and top secret knowledge of how lethal the virus could be with the government of the United States as well as the World Health Organization. The United States government officially invested $2 billion in to Pfizer's R&D process, with the UN and WHO investing another $500 million and Pfizer itself spending a record $4 billion of its own cash.
Research & Development
Over a grueling and hectic research process, many dead-ends and non-starters were encountered. The research team was also stonewalled numerous times by intrusive management from the Pfizer board of directors and shareholders who were concerned the research was going to eventually cost more than the company could recoup in the first year of sales. On top of that, mismanagement by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta caused numerous headaches and slowdowns of development. Namely the Deputy Director of Preparedness, Detection & Control of Infection Diseases at the CDC, a man named Dr. William Frank, was accused (although not publicly) of stonewalling research being done at Atlanta as well as information sharing with Pfizer and other pharmaceutical companies for personal reasons. He was later fired from the CDC in February 2010 but the damage had already been done.
As infection spread and quarantines weakened, the epidemic quickly became a pandemic. As Pfizer was by far the furthest ahead of any competition in researching a treatment, they were pressured publicly and behind closed doors from both Republican and Democratic leaders to push the drug to the market well before it was ready. The Food and Drug Administration guaranteed an "expedited" trial process to get the drug on the market as soon as possible. This was to achieve two goals at once. The first and primary was to calm the public and give the illusion that the situation was under control. The second, and this is where the drug really fell flat on its face, was the effective treatment of 732-ZH Encephalitis Lethargica.
Phalanx Hits the Market
The drug was a commercial success and the board of directors fears of a narrowing profit margin were skillfully avoided. Unfortunately the same could not be said for the actual effectiveness of Phalanx. Many of those afflicted who were treated professionally or self-medicated with Phalanx had reports of dizziness, loss of consciousness, heart palpitations, lowered blood pressure, and in rare cases it caused internal bleeding in those with preexisting liver or kidney issues. Though on the whole, the drug seemed almost immediately effective. This grace period was nothing more than a honeymoon phase for Phalanx, as many who had felt recovered after treatment quickly relapsed, even while still on the intense regimen of medication.
The drug was shown to effectively fight off 732-ZH EL, albeit for a very short time before the virus unexplicibly "overcomes" the treatment and resumes business as usual. The result is 100% fatal.